Music of the Kalash

Monotonous Chants

Among the songs of Kalasha, there are songs that are sung without any accompanying instrument nor dance. They are monotonous chants that are sung during the winter festival Chaumos.

Chaumos is the most important and the biggest festival of the Kalasha. In Mummuret and Rukmur it continues for two weeks and during this period the people are purified and the society enters a sacred sphere. Many chants are sung according to the events of the day. They are sacred songs (onjashta ghu) and are forbidden to sing outside the festival.
One by one, a singer will recite his short phrase and the chorus joins in. The words are improvised followed by (or leaded by) set terms according to the subject and usually the singing will continue whole night.

There are about 17 different kinds of chants (in Mummuret valley).
All melodies consist of one short phrase and the tonal range is narrow and restricted. They are sung very slowly and in free rhythm.

The basic frame of the melody is

1. a two-tone melody of minor second (semi-tone)
2. a two-tone melody of major second (whole-tone)
3. a three-tone melody of minor second +major second.